- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
JQD: I started writing at a pretty early age. In elementary school, I entered a couple of Young Author’s contests. I still have those stories somewhere, one of which was about a girl in a castle. I recently learned that Anne Rice was a presenter of awards at one of those contests. Of course, I had no idea who she was at the time, but it’s still pretty cool!
2. How long does it take to write your book(s)?
JQD: For each one of my books, it took about one year. I don’t generally write every single day. I know I should, but my creativity just doesn’t work that way. I can’t force it.
3. What is your work schedule like when writing a book?
JQD: There really isn’t a schedule. I just write when I write.
4. Where do you get your ideas or information for your book?
JQD: In college, I wrote a ton of research papers. It was like, every week, a paper was due. So, researching is something I feel very comfortable doing. I also like to mix fact with fiction. For example, one of my books takes place on an island around Costa Rica. This island is real, the description on how to reach the island is real, but what is on that island is completely made up. For the zombie aspect of my books, I researched medically-involved information, as well as info on cannibalism.
5. When did you write your first book?
JQD: My first book was released on June 10, 2014, which is my birthday!
6. What do you do when you’re not writing?
JQD: When I’m not writing, I do all kinds of things. I don’t have kids and most of my time is spent with my husband so, we just like to do whatever. Play video games, shop, travel, take naps, hang out with our dogs…pretty much whatever.
7. What does your family think of your writing?
JQD: It’s funny, most of my family hasn’t even read my books. I’m truly the only book nerd. And if they aren’t into reading, they aren’t into horror. My mother-in-law couldn’t finish the first book in the series because it was “too scary and gory”. This makes me laugh. It also makes me very, very happy. *grins mischievously*
8. What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your books?
JQD: That it’s so hard. Writing a full-length book is not an easy feat. The most challenging part, in my opinion, is keeping track of what you’ve written already. You are working with 60+ words, multiple characters, different places, and it all has to make sense and fit together. It’s rough.
9. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
JQD: I have written three books, a series. I think my favorite in the series was the second book. I felt that my writing had gotten a bit more serious and I could tell how much I had grown as a writer, and even as a horror writer. The story itself had become darker and more complex. However, the book that I’m currently writing will surpass that one. It’s already my favorite and I’m not done with the first draft!
10. Any tips/suggestions on getting started?
JQD: The hardest part about writing a book is getting started! Those first few sentences of the first chapter of that first book, or any book, are the hardest to get down on paper. But once you get past that part, the words just flow from there.
11. What do you think makes a good story?
JQD: Life experiences. Yes, artists have an imaginative nature. We have the ability to create things out of nothing. But I think when you add your own life experiences into that, it could really make for some interesting stuff. When I’m reading a book, I often wonder what’s real to the author and what’s made up.
12. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
JQD: I wanted to be a teacher for a little while. But I recently found a video of myself when I was thirteen years old talking into the camera about how I was going to attend college and write a book. It’s nice to know that I’d actually achieved my dreams!
*Turning Grace and Escaping Grace are E-book Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror medal winners of the New Apple Book Rewards for Excellence in Independent Publishing.